Video collaboration among SMBs in the US is expected to increase to 89%, from 38%, a surge of 184%, according to new research by Techaisle. The skyrocketing growth can be attributed to cloud adoption by SMBs and midmarket businesses for business agility, said Techaisle founder and Chief Global Analyst Anurag Agrawal. Video conferencing is playing an increasingly important role in contributing to SMB agility in areas including decision making, productivity, and innovation, he said.

“Businesses without modern collaboration solutions are scrambling to catch up with those that are already capitalizing on the benefits [of] video conferencing solutions,” Agrawal said in a statement.

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As new adopters are learning from firms that have already made early investments in these systems, he said, “a comparison of early adopters to firms that are just now embracing advanced collaboration systems finds that the pace set by early adopters is forcing other SMB firms to invest in collaboration solutions to address current and future market issues.”

This next generation of SMBs and midmarket business collaboration solution adopters is responding to specific pain points more than their predecessors, Agrawal said. Video conferencing is figuring in their collaboration strategies, specifically because:
• They cannot coordinate meetings involving employees in multiple locations
• Customer satisfaction is declining
• The pace of decision making is too slow
• Email is not an adequate means of connecting staff with each other and with customers
• They are trailing competitors and want to catch up
• They have to keep pace with market uncertainty and want to find new avenues for business viability and growth

Techaisle’s survey data finds that these firms have begun using video collaboration solutions “as a reaction to business problems that are preventing them from achieving their business objectives of growth, productivity, time to market, customer retention and operating cost reduction,” Agrawal said.

Once SMBs make the decision to use video conferencing platforms, he said Techaisle found consistency in feature set requirements by IT decision makers and business decision makers: security and ease of use and simplicity.

“It is easy to grasp why some video conferencing solutions such as Zoom, Cisco WebEx and Microsoft Teams are SMB favorites,” Agrawal said. Three key points are stacked in their favor: The ability to easily make a video call to several participants at the same time; ease of scheduling a video call without IT or admin help; and their interfaces are simple to use and intuitive for placing an unscheduled video call, he said.

The study also found that “SMBs can and are deriving tremendous benefits from deploying video conferencing solutions, but the specific payback realized by each business isn’t simply a matter of investing in video capabilities–it increases as SMBs and midmarket firms align video conferencing with business outcomes,” Agrawal said.

If collaboration is important to business success–and Techaisle’s data clearly shows that it is, Agrawal said–it is important to align collaboration strategy, activities, and investments with the best-case outcomes of high levels of business growth and innovation.

“Innovation happens best in collaboration and not in isolation,” Agrawal said. “SMBs are realizing that initial centricity of file sharing is giving way to rich in-person interactive communications in their business strategies.”

SMB video conferencing features.
Image: Techaisle